Post #3: America’s Perception of the US’s K-12 Public Education System

Hey everyone,

So here’s my third post about how my project is going so far this summer. There’s not too much interesting new information to share with anyone.  The first half of the summer I focused on researching my topic and gathering data and statistics about opinions and countries. Now I’m moving on to actually writing up a paper explaining everything that I’ve found. I’ve already written about 20 pages on something that I though was going to make up just a small or average portion of my project so that means I’m probably going to need to do some major editing, or my write-up as a whole is going to be much longer than I planned (probably a combination of both).

As I had originally thought, some aspects of this project are pretty difficult to find actual data for. I’m looking at Americans’ perception of the education system and what shapes it, which means I need to link more general survey data and sentiment to more focused topics and opinions. For instance, I might find some poll that says that most Americans think the United States’ STEM education is lagging behind the rest of the world. And I might find various rankings, measures, and test results that say that the United States is doing pretty average or just above average. But the issue then is find more data to connect why Americans see it one way while more objective data portrays it a different way. Something like this could be explained by looking at the amount of hours students study or the topics covered by different grade levels. Perhaps I’d look for a survey that shows the public’s opinion on whether or not students should have more homework. Then I’d need to try to find information about how many hours students actually spend on homework and try to see how that matches up to the public’s perception.

One thing I did find interesting was how a lot of other countries are shaping their education systems to be more like the American education system. Countries known for extreme dedication towards studying are trying to be more balanced and promote health, rather than undue amounts of stress. Exam-oriented education is being reformed to promote creativity and free-thinking.

I still need to take more of a look at the opposite end of the spectrum where there are schools that have little emphasis on standardized tests and have relatively short school days.

Overall, I’ve found more than enough information about the reality of education systems in the United States and various countries. Now I just need to link this to peoples’ perception of our education system.


  1. Do you think that the different views on the American education system could be from how different schools can be based on school district? For example, parents with children in a low income, poor performing school may have a vastly different view on American education than a family ten minutes away in a high performing district. Maybe one’s own experience or the experience of one’s children becomes a generalization for the whole school system?

  2. This seems like a very interesting topic because I can see how a society’s perceptions of their school system wouldn’t always match up to the quantitative data about a school system and the perceptions from outside societies. I’m intruiged to see what conclusions you discover about the reasons behind peoples’ perceptions and how that translates into a grander society opinion. I look forward to reading the completed result!

  3. Quentin J. Ullrich says:

    Hi Nate. Very relevant topic you have here, especially considering recent talks in the U.S. regarding education reform as well as topics being discussed in the presidential race. In your project, did you have a chance to evaluate public perception of Common Core (as well as public perception of the actual effects of Common Core on the public education system)?